Being a Female Construction Manager
Hours: 40-50 per week +
Starting salary: Around £40,000 depending on location.
Qualifications required: Starting salaries for construction managers typically range from £26,000-£33,000 or up to £50,000-£70,000 for more senior positions.
Typically you could work in one of five project groups: residential, commercia, lindustrial, infrastructure or environmental.
According to CRL, at the end of 2016, 2.3 million people were working in the construction industry but only 13% were women.
What's it like being a female in construction?
Rachel enjoys listening to music, playing football and going to festivals. She lives in Reading and often watches her son play rugby at the weekend. Rachel’s friends and family are a very big part of her life.
Job title: Assistant site manager - construction
Current employer: Linden homes
Hours: 45 hours per week on average
How long have you been practising in this field? 5 years.
Where are you based for work or which regions do you cover?
I'm based in Berkshire and work in Oxfordshire.
What’s it like being a female in construction?
I spend my time checking other people’s work, attending meetings and making sure I meet deadlines! I also ensure we meet health and safety guidelines daily to make sure the team stays safe.
What does a typical day look like?
I get up at 5.30am depending on which location I’m working at and then get to site around 7am. Once there, I wait for my trades to come and then once they set up I check everyone is where they should be and if not, I talk to their supervisors to see why or where they are.
Next, I’ll look at my daily diary and check off any materials or work that needs doing. I’ll keep going around and checking the workforce is okay until my first break at 10am. After break sometimes I’ll hold trades meetings or in-house meetings. I’ll take a second break at 1pm around lunchtime and then I’ll do some paperwork and see if any issues have come up on-site. Finally, I’ll lock up around 4.30pm.
Are there any specific qualifications you are required to have in your field?
A site safety certificate such as SMSTS (Site Management Safety Training Scheme) first aid and competence card from CSCS (Construction Skills Certification Scheme).
What did your career journey look like - how did you get to where you are today?
I fell into construction coincidentally! A firm was working by my mum’s house and a digger actually hit my car. I walked into the site cabin as I was not very happy and ended up asking for a job - and I got it! It was an admin role and only around 4 hours a day.
I was interested in what was going on, so I started asking questions like, ‘why are you digging that’ or ‘what’s that trench for’ etc. I then did some research and made the decision that I could be a site manager, so within 5 years I have pushed myself to get here..
Was there anything you liked doing at school that helped you get to this career?
Yes - I always enjoyed being around people and school also gave me the confidence to speak openly to new people, which is a big part of the job..
What were your favorite subjects at school?
English and sports.
What did you want to be as a child when you 'grew up'?
What were your parents' reactions to that aspiration?
My mum has supported me whatever I’ve wanted to do - she’s happy as long as I’m happy, which is great
What do you think are attitudes towards and expectations of women in your profession?
To be honest, it’s still a “man’s world” in construction, so sometimes they automatically think you can’t do your job because your female...but that’s when I like to prove them wrong!
Has anyone been surprised when they found out that you worked in construction?
Yes. They generally assume I’m in sales.
What are the challenges of doing your role?
Challenges are simply being a female in a male-dominated industry. You have to be strong minded and willing to take things that are said with a pinch of salt sometimes.
What’s your favourite part of your job?
Job satisfaction. I love handing over a lovely house to the new homeowners and seeing their reaction to our hard work, from organising through to completion.
What are 3 things you have to like to do your job?
Working with others
Work longer hours
What advice would you give to young girls who are aspiring to be in your role, or who maybe haven't even considered it as a career?
It’s amazing and very interesting. I’m still learning and probably always will be. There is no end to construction and there are lots of different routes you can take. You could be a plumber or a scaffolder - the opportunities are endless and the money is good!
Watch our interviews with staff at Taylor Wimpey - one of the largest British based housebuilding companies.